Crust thrashers Gravehuffer pull out all the stops on their fourth long-player, …Depart From So Much Evil.
Joplin, Missouri’s own Gravehuffer has been haunting stages and studios since 2010, and even before that under the name Krom. With three previous full-length records in their wake, not to mention the EP and a generous ration of splits, these musicians have been around the block a few times. The new record expands on their previous work and moves into spaces they have not occupied before. Gravehuffer is Travis McKenzie (vocals), Mike Jilge (bass), Ritchie Randall (guitar), and Todd Morrison (drums).
“Blueprint For An Early Grave” opens with a fog horn sounding an alarm and an evacuation notice. Some shit is about to go down. A clobbering riff follows, and a pumping rhythm that leads to the first growling stanza. It is a quick punch to the head, and it gets things rolling nicely. “Slayberry” is another short one, and it is more actively savage than the opener from every angle, but especially in the vocals that hiss into black metal territory now and then. Grisly. The back half is a hop-along reconnoitering, surveying the damage. “The Cryptid And The Iron Bird” expands the metal palette and spreads its wings into a longer form where a wandering can take place. This song in a way presages the anchor piece.
“Brainstorm” takes a different approach, opening on acoustic notes, then proceeding to a creepy whisper. The acoustic guitar returns and you start to wonder where you are. Dual vocals and electric menace kick your cage, making the acoustic returns all the more unsettling. “Go Murder Pray And Die” is a screaming hardcore punk pummeling that has a tasty lead guitar break. Love this song. The big news, though, is the twenty-two-minute epic title track that waits for you at the end of the road. Solemn cello and emotional accompaniment lead off in a direction we haven’t heard before on the album. That is only the beginning, and, given the length of the song, you can imagine the ground that the composition covers. It is a journey of highs and lows, fasts and slows – growling and punishing and melancholy. It is an excellent suite in construction and execution. If you have never heard Gravehuffer before, this album is the place to start. Recommended.
Depart From So Much Evil is out now through Black Doomba Records. Snap it up at the links below.
Band photos by Wayne Edwards.
Black Doomba Records, https://www.blackdoombarecords.co/
© Wayne Edwards